CATO OP-EDS

Ryan Bourne Friday's jobs report once again highlighted the strength of the US labor market. The unemployment rate hit a nearly 50-year low, with the total number of jobs added crushing expectations. , Yet despite another strong indication that the US jobs market is an economic success story, Democratic presidential candidates continue to demand risky and radical plans to overhaul the way Americans work. Chief among them is Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator wants to introduce a slew of changes ranging from a " jobs guarantee" to a hike of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. But perhaps Sanders' most eyebrow-raising labor market plan is the call to outlaw the American norm of "at-will employment." Despite US labor-market flexibility delivering much lower unemployment than more heavily regulated countries, Sanders thinks it's time to move toward more onerous employment laws. Getting rid of at-will employment would not only make it much more difficult for inexperienced, young, and risky hires to find work, but it would also reduce wages and living standards. , Democratic presidential candidates continue [...]
Sun, Dec 08, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Ryan Bourne Wading into election campaigns is fraught with danger for business people. “We are concerned by the direction of things, but won’t raise our head just to get it blown off,” an executive of a popular multinational explained to me this week. , When even Bill Gates, a massive philanthropist, can be media-massacred for critiquing a US presidential candidate’s wealth tax plans, no business sees itself safe from the blowback of opposing populist Left-wing policies. Customer bases comprising all political persuasions make any electoral statement from individual companies highly risky. No such excuses, however, can be made for organisations purporting to represent business interests, who have actively chosen to remain neutered. These groups have the licence to take the heat in defending members’ long-term economic interests. Yet in this campaign, the Institute of Directors (IoD), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have been utterly supine in the face of Jeremy Corbyn’s socialist threat. Here is a Labour Party wanting to confiscate shares in large companies, overhaul corporate governance, nationalise whole industries at prices set by politicians, impose rapid and destructive decarbonisation, reverse [...]
Thu, Dec 05, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Doug Bandow President Donald Trump believes in America First except when it comes to the Saudi royal family. Then it is Saudi Arabia first. , At the end of November, U.S. military leaders were in Riyadh negotiating the employment terms for the royal's new bodyguards. That is, the plan for an expanded American military presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), including Patriot missiles, Sentinel radars, a THAAD air defense system, fighter aircraft, and other equipment, as well as personnel, who will eventually number around 3,000. Why is the president, who has loudly insisted that allies do more to defend themselves, even more determined to handle Saudi Arabia's security? Of course, the royals themselves want American backing. Having grabbed control of their people's wealth, they long have hired others to do the hard, unpleasant, and dangerous work—including the U.S. military. , President Trump believes in America First—except when it comes to the monarchy in Riyadh apparently. , The status-conscious KSA spends lavishly, especially [...]
Thu, Dec 05, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Doug Bandow President Donald Trump returned early from the London NATO summit. Staged to satisfy British Prime Minister Boris Johnson—the official 70th-anniversary meeting was held in April—the latest gathering featured only one, mercifully short, session, to reduce the likelihood of a Trump eruption. Even so, before arriving he improbably chided French President Emmanuel Macron for being “nasty,” “insulting,” and “disrespectful” in suggesting that the alliance suffered from “brain death.” Then the session’s minimal substance was overshadowed by the president’s personal spat with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. , Of course, the assembled leaders filled their limited time together with happy talk. The greatest alliance ever is more necessary than ever as Europe faces the greatest security challenges ever. The Europeans are spending more and cutting Washington’s burden. NATO is preparing plans both to defend its members from conventional attacks and confront new threats. The Europeans even are ready to tackle the huge new challenge posed by increasingly aggressive China. All in all, the alliance is prospering greatly. This is fantasy. A very pleasant one. But fantasy nonetheless. NATO was formed in 1949 to shield European states from Soviet aggression as they [...]
Thu, Dec 05, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Ted Galen Carpenter Pro-NATO politicians and pundits never tire of citing polls and studies showing that a majority of Americans continue to support the Alliance. Frequently, that argument is presented as part of the larger case that President Trump's periodic expressions of skepticism about NATO's relevance are out-of-touch with the views of the American public. However, the pro-NATO case is built on a fundamental deception. , Few (if any) surveys of U.S. public opinion about NATO even hint about the extent of the risks Americans incur because of Washington's obligations under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which commits the signatories to consider an attack on any member as an attack on all. A typical poll question will ask respondents whether the United States should defend country X, if Russia attacks that country. A more honest question would be whether the United States should defend country X from a Russian attack, even if doing so might result in a nuclear war with Russia that could kill millions of Americans. Granted, such an outcome is a worst-case scenario, but Washington’s Article 5 obligations bring it into play. The escalation risk is especially relevant [...]
Wed, Dec 04, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Corey A. DeAngelis and Tommy Schultz What’s good for the goose is good for the gander — unless you’re talking about the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and education policy. The majority of the front-runners either attended private schools themselves or sent their own children to private schools, yet they’re fighting hard against programs that would grant similar options to the less fortunate. , Here’s their latest school choice hypocrisy. For starters, Sen. Elizabeth Warren recently released an education plan that is radically anti-choice. It would ban many high-quality charter schools, end federal funding of charter schools, and make it even more difficult to open new charters. She also calls to end private school choice programs — programs that overwhelmingly serve low-income families. But about a month ago, one of us uncovered that Warren sent her son, Alex, to expensive private schools starting in fifth grade when she was teaching at the University of Texas at Austin. Then, cellphone footage shows the senator lied about it to an African American woman, moments after giving a speech about the rights of black women, before her campaign finally admitted Warren's son attended private school. Other Democratic candidates have also come out swinging against school choice. Sen. Bernie Sanders [...]
Wed, Dec 04, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Doug Bandow The denizens of Zhongnanhai have never understood democracy. In the People's Republic of China, people are expected to do and believe what they are told. Few disobey, especially under Xi Jinping, who has moved Chinese society back toward Maoist totalitarianism. , Dictating to others does not work overseas, however. In 1996 Beijing's leaders attempted to use missile tests to intimidate Taiwanese voters, who instead increased their support for Lee Teng-hui's reelection. In recent days the Xi government insisted that the Hong Kong authorities crackdown on democracy demonstrators and expected support from the special administrative region’s “silent majority.” Instead, the recent local election resulted in a popular tsunami against the PRC’s tightening noose. Even areas considered to be pro-China chose young freedom activists to dominate local councils. Beijing was uncharacteristically stunned into silence. Eventually, the regime fell back on blaming America for manipulating public sentiment. As if pontificating diplomats convinced thousands of young Hong Kongers to create chaos on the streets and fortify universities against the unpopular, unrepresentative SAR government. Such dedication comes from inside the person. In fact, despite having radically different perspectives, Mao Zedong and other early revolutionary [...]
Mon, Dec 02, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Corey A. DeAngelis Elizabeth Warren came out swinging against school choice when she released her education plan on October 21. The Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential candidate called for ending federal funding for public charter schools, banning for-profit charter schools, increasing regulations for all charter schools, and making it more difficult to start new charter schools. She also said she wanted to stop private school choice programs. , Warren then started tweeting that she was "#PublicSchoolProud" and that "we must stop the privatization of public schools." She also bragged about how she attended and taught at public schools. But the senator remained silent about where she sent her children to school. She'd been silent on the subject for a while, in fact, having failed to respond when Education Week asked where her children went to school. If Warren was so loud and proud about public schools, wouldn't she be more than happy to tell everyone that she sent her two kids, Alex and Amelia, to public schools? Of course she would. Unless, that is, she had the privilege to send her own kids to private schools while fighting against extending similar options to the less fortunate. On October [...]
Mon, Dec 02, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Brian Blase and Aaron Yelowitz New York state is grappling with a Medicaid shortfall in the billions of dollars. And one of the main reasons is improper enrollment. , Using annual information from the Census Bureau to assess the demographic make-up of Medicaid enrollees over time, researcher Aaron Yelowitz and I estimated that 2.3 million to 3.3 million Medicaid enrollees nationally make an income in excess of what is allowed. This is of increasing importance given that ObamaCare massively expanded what was historically a welfare program for vulnerable populations like the disabled and low-income children and pregnant women — and tens of billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake. Excluding traditional pathways onto Medicaid (such as through disability or pregnancy), Yelowitz and I concluded that the number of working-age New York state residents on Medicaid who have incomes above the eligibility threshold rose by more than 80 percent between 2012 and 2017. We estimated that between 337,000 and 433,000 working-age New York state residents with income above the allowed limit are improperly enrolled in Medicaid. , As [...]
Sat, Nov 30, 2019
Source: OP-EDS
Doug Bandow The Democratic establishment is increasingly irritated. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, long-shot candidate for president, is attacking her own party for promoting the “deeply destructive” policy of “regime change wars.” Gabbard has even called Hillary Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party.” , Senator Chris Murphy complained: “It’s a little hard to figure out what itch she’s trying to scratch in the Democratic Party right now.” Some conservatives seem equally confused. The Washington Examiner’s Eddie Scarry asked: “where is Tulsi distinguishing herself when it really matters?” The answer is that foreign policy “really matters.” Gabbard recognizes that George W. Bush is not the only simpleton warmonger who’s plunged the nation into conflict, causing enormous harm. In the last Democratic presidential debate, she explained that the issue was “personal to me” since she’d “served in a medical unit where every single day, I saw the terribly high, human costs of war.” Compare her perspective to that of the ivory tower warriors of Right and Left, ever ready to send others off to fight not so grand crusades. , [...]
Fri, Nov 29, 2019
Source: OP-EDS

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